Myth #: Soy Interferes With Thyroid Function
Well-controlled clinical trials have also examined the effects of soy foods and/or isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy subjects.¹² Either no effects or clinically insignificant changes in thyroid hormone levels were noted in these trials. More specifically, for those undergoing synthetic thyroid hormone replacement therapy: A number of food constituents, including soy, fiber, walnuts and calcium can decrease thyroid hormone bioavailability by interfering with its absorption. People on thyroid hormone replacement therapy can simply avoid these possible food interactions by taking their medication on an empty stomach.
Bottom line: Soy consumption has no adverse effect on normal thyroid function.
As I Said It Is A Tiny Tiny Amount
Plus, the actual amount of estrogen, that survives the trip, through your gut and manages, to get into your circulation, is going to considerably less, than what you consume.
So if youre eating a beef burger, you dont need to worry, about hormones at least. But what if youre eating a tofu burger ?
What Is The Impossible Burger
The Impossible Burger was created by Impossible Foods, a company Patrick O. Brown founded in 2011.
Brown is a scientist and professor emeritus at Stanford University in California. He holds a medical degree and a PhD and has worked as a research scientist for many years.
Through conferences, Brown tried raising awareness about how using animals for food harms the environment. However, this had little effect, so he created a business that produced plant-based alternatives to popular animal products.
Its signature product the Impossible Burger aims to perfectly mimic the taste of beef.
Contains Potentially Allergenic Ingredients
The original Impossible Burger recipe contained wheat and soy, both of which are common food allergens.
In fact, 1% of the worlds population has celiac disease, which is an immune reaction to gluten-containing grains.
Whats more, its thought that 0.513% of the general population has non-celiac gluten sensitivity an intolerance to gluten that results in unpleasant symptoms like headache and intestinal issues .
While the new Impossible Burger recipe has swapped gluten-containing wheat protein for soy protein, the burger still contains ingredients that some people cant tolerate.
For example, an allergy to soy, while less common than an allergy to milk or wheat, is considered one of the eight most common food allergens for both adults and children .
You Don’t Need To Fear The Estrogen Content In Impossible Burgers
No, the plant-based patties will not cause you to grow breasts.
Between Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and other emerging plant-based meat companies, its never been a better time to be a vegetarian or vegan. Nor has it ever been easier to cut back on meat consumption in general, for the sake of your health and for the sake of the planet. Diners who want to occasionally sub an Angus patty for a plant-based one can now find those options in a number of restaurants, including Burger King, which added the Impossible Whopper to its menu in the fall of 2019.
New food technology can sometimes spark unnecessary fears among eaters, however, especially when a new food product is seen as unnatural or weird. Take, for example, the recent rumors warning consumers to beware the estrogen content in Impossible Whoppers and other Impossible Food products, lest the delicious, meat-free burgers cause men eating them to grow breasts.
Fears about soy products feminizing men have existed for quite a while. The Impossible Burger fear mongering, however, is a bit more recent. It stems from a 2019 story published by Tri-State Livestock News, a trade publication covering livestock agriculture. Written by James Stangle, who specializes in veterinary medicine, the story claims that four Impossible Whoppers a day contain enough estrogen to grow boobs on a male. That story was then picked up by conversative pundits such as Michael Savage, according to The Washington Post.
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The Impossible Whopper Estrogen Burger: Helping Men Grow Boobies Since 2019
Burger Kings new plant-based protein burger, called the Impossible Whopper, is reportedly so popular that it has brought in more than $250 million from investors, including Bill Gates, and endorsements from sketchy celebrities, such as Ellen Degeneres, Miley Cyrus and Leonardo DiCaprio. My oh my, what all-star crew .
This fast-food offerings claim to fame is that it is good for you, its better for the environment , it still bleeds when cooked, and it tastes somewhat like a good ol classic American hamburger.
The burger contains the inclusion of a genetically modified plant-based hemoglobin, called soy leghemoglobin, according to the Impossible Whoppers web page.
Soy protein contains genistein, a xenoestrogen that has been tied to breast and ovarian cancer in women and found to adversely affect sexual development in males, among many other negative effects.
Soy-based products are not health foods due to their sex-hormone disrupting properties. Also well documented is the presence of phyic acid, trypsin inhibitors, goitrogens, among others, which are often found in commercial American soy products due to the fact that westerners generally dont ferment soy to remove these toxic substances as Asian cultures do.
The issue of whether soy in general is good for you at all has been widely debated.
But even for post-menopausal women, this much estrogen regularly is problematic.
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The Bad News: Meatless Burgers Are Heavily Processed And High In Saturated Fat
The same cant necessarily be said of the aforementioned beef substitutes, which have been created to mimic what many people love about a burger the red juicy center and meaty taste. Along with the ambition to replicate hamburgers comes a comparable amount of saturated fat. Since diets higher in saturated fat are associated with increased rates of both heart disease and premature death, they may not be the type to opt for if your ambitions are purely health-related. They are also a significant source of sodium, particularly for those on salt-restricted diets.
The following chart shows how the newer, meatless burgers stack up nutritionally against beef burgers, turkey burgers, and black bean burgers.
Even though legumes are sourced for protein in the branded meatless options, their health benefits are somewhat blunted by the high degree of processing involved. For instance, moderate amounts of whole soy foods, like edamame , have been linked to reduced rates of cancer. This protection is often attributed to isoflavones, a subgroup of plant compounds called flavonoids thought to provide health benefits. Unfortunately, in the case of the Impossible Burger, one serving contains less than 8% of the isoflavones found in one serving of whole soy foods .
Poultry-based burger alternatives, such as turkey burgers, also do not contain significant amounts of protective plant compounds. On the other hand, they offer less saturated fat.
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May Be A More Environmentally Friendly Choice
The Impossible Burger website claims that producing this plant-based burger uses roughly 75% less water, generates 87% fewer greenhouse gasses, and requires 95% less land than producing conventional ground beef from cows .
Indeed, research shows that cattle farming is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions in the livestock industry .
Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock farming contribute to global warming. This leads many climate experts to recommend that people eat a more plant-based diet in order to mitigate pressure on the environment .
The Impossible Burger is an environmentally friendly food packed with nutrients that vegan and vegetarian diets often lack, such as iron and vitamin B12.
Although the Impossible Burger offers some benefits, there are some downsides to consider as well.
Isoflavone Similar To Human Estrogen But Weaker
Estrogen, a hormone naturally produced by both males and females animals and humans alike can be found in trace amounts in all animal products consumed, whether it be milk, red meat or even eggs.
Its plant-derived counterpart, isoflavone, is also found in various fruits and vegetables and products derived from them, like the Impossible Burger. The meat alternative, however, doesn’t contain nearly as much isoflavone as the tweet claims under 2 mg in a single four-ounce serving, according to the company’s website.
This quantity is well below that of some standard hormone treatments recommended for individuals transitioning to female, which can range up to 8 mg of estradiol per day.
Once ingested, isoflavones bind to proteins called receptors that recognize mammalian estrogen, but the interaction is rather weak. Isoflavones also don’t bind to all types of estrogen receptors found throughout the body as well as mammalian estrogen does, Kevin Klatt, a postdoctoral fellow at the Baylor College of Medicine, told fact-checking site Health Feedback.
So while isoflavones can create biological activity to some extent, they can also prevent their more potent cousin estrogen from binding to its receptors, thus simultaneously exerting anti-estrogenic effects.
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Impossible Whopper Contains No Estrogen Will Not Lead To Men Growing Breasts If Eaten In Moderation
FULL CLAIM: The Impossible Whopper has 44 mg of estrogen and the Whopper has 2.5 ng of estrogen. Now let me refresh your metric system. There are 1 million nanograms in one milligram . That means an Impossible Whopper has 18 million times as much estrogen as a regular Whopper. Just six glasses of soy milk per day has enough estrogen to grow boobs on a male. Thats the equivalent of eating four impossible whoppers per day.
Myth #: Eating Soy Can Increase A Womans Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer
Theres no scientific evidence that consuming soy increases breast cancer risk. On the other hand, there is evidence from many large epidemiological studies that soy consumption reduces the risk of breast cancer. These studies show that consumption of soy early in life and at the higher levels typical of Japanese diets provides the most consistent protective effect. In addition, a number of studies suggest that incorporating soy into the diet of breast cancer survivors decreases their risk of recurrence.
Bottom line: Soy has a protective or at worst, neutral effect on breast cancer risk.
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Eating Soy In Moderation Doesn’t Feminize Men
To date, no studies have shown eating soy or isoflavones in moderation can feminize males or affect childhood development. Soy products have been a mainstay in Asian diets for centuries with no detriment to the male population, , a professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, told The Washington Post in 2019.
“Asians have been eating soy products for millennia and don’t seem to be any the worse for it. They have among the longest lifespans and best health, at least in classic diets,” she told the Post. “There is a special concern about … men and boys who eat soy products, but again, if you look at populations that eat a lot of soy products, there is no evidence of particular problems.”
One report often used to bolster consumer fears is a 2008 case report of a 60-year-old Texas man who developed a benign swelling of male breast tissue and elevated estrogen levels. Doctors reported the man drank three quarts of soymilk a day, which “would have given him a daily dose of 360 mg of isoflavones, about 10 times what the average man in Asia consumes” according to Nutrition Action, a resource website produced by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
It’s important to note, excessive intake of any food can have detrimental health consequences. For instance, eating too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and even calcium loss from bones.
Dear Men: Theres No Evidence That Eating Impossible Whoppers Will Give You Breasts
James Stangle, a doctor of veterinary medicine in South Dakota, has sounded the alarm on the Impossible Whopper, which, he says, contains so much estrogen that the mock-meat burger could grow breasts on men who wolf down too many of the Burger King sandwiches.
In a recent report for Tri-State Livestock News, Stangle crunches some serious numbers. He compares the estrogen levels found in the Impossible Whopper to those in the original Whopper, based on their protein sources . The Impossible Whopper, Stangle concludes, has 44 milligrams of estrogen compared to just 2.5 nanograms in the beef Whopper.
Now let me refresh your metric system, Stangle writes. There are 1 million nanograms in one milligram . That means an impossible whopper has 18 million times as much estrogen as a regular whopper . Just six glasses of soy milk per day has enough estrogen to grow boobs on a male.
Its also worth noting that conservative news outlets, such as National File and MichaelSavage.com, have picked up on the story. In short, the Impossible Burger is a genetically modified organism filled with calorie-dense oils that can make a man grow breasts if eaten in sufficient quantity, wrote Tom Pappert, editor in chief of the National File.
What you do, Nestle said, is look to cultures that have historically consumed soy products.
And what does moderation look like?
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The Male Breasts Claim Stems From A Single Incident
The assertion that soy-based products can lead to female secondary sexual characteristics in males is apparently based on a single 2008 case study in which a Texas man who drank a daily intake of 3 quarts of soy milk developed breasts and breast soreness. These symptoms subsided, doctors reported, after he stopped consuming soy. Using a single case report from 2008 to set an empirical threshold for a medical risk is not science but an appeal to fear without context.
While the amount of phytoestrogen in an Impossible Whopper does sound terrifyingly massive when compared to the negligible amount of estrogen in beef, the amount present in the Impossible Whopper is not out of line with phytoestrogen consumption in regions of the world that regularly consume large amounts of soy . These billions of people provide strong support for the possibility that the one man in Texas potentially soy-induced breasts is to say the least an outlier.
For these reasons, we rank the claim that four Impossible Whoopers a day puts a male at risk of developing breasts as False. We note, as well, that eating four Impossible Whoppers a day would be roughly as healthy as eating four beef burgers a day: Not healthy at all.
The Claim: The Impossible Burger Contains More Estrogen Than Transgender Hormone Therapy
While only about 5% of U.S. adults consider themselves vegetarian, this hasn’t stopped plant-based foods from going mainstream.
Plant-based food sales compared to the same time in 2019. And the global market is projected to increase fivefold by 2030.
A big selling point for products like the meatless meat substitute Impossible Burger, aside from sustainability, is health. But the patty’s perceived health benefits have received some criticism, including from social media users who claim the burgers contain a potent payload of hormones.
“You’ve probably heard of the ‘Made 100% from plants’… Well, contains 44mg of estrogen,” reads a tweet shared in an .
The tweet asserts this alleged dose is far greater than the “4 mg” of estrogen contained in hormone replacement therapy given to individuals undergoing gender reassignment.
If you eat this burger, the tweet concludes, it “will make you female.”
The post and similar ones have racked up hundreds of interactions across Facebook and Instagram within the last few months, according to CrowdTangle, a social media insights tool.
Like many meat alternatives, the Impossible Burger uses soybean, or soy, as a protein source. Soy and other foods like wheat, lentils and apples contain a naturally occurring hormone called isoflavone, a type of plant estrogen .
Isoflavone does function similarly to estrogen in mammals, but it isn’t as biologically strong. And Impossible Burgers don’t contain nearly enough to make anyone female.
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Soy: Facts Myths And Why Its In Our Products
Soy has been consumed for centuries and researched extensively. In fact, over 15,000 peer-reviewed articles have been written about its impact on health and nutrition.
The soybean is notable among plants for its high quality protein, and is the only commonly consumed plant protein that is comparable in quality to animal protein.¹ In most cases, quality is defined in terms of protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score , which takes into account the proteins essential amino acid composition and digestibility. Published PDCAAS values for soy protein range from 0.91 to 1.0, depending upon the specific soy product.² Soy protein concentrate the ingredient that provides the majority of protein in Impossible Burger and Impossible Sausage Made from Plants has a published PDCAAS of 0.99.³ For reference, beef from cows has a PDCAAS of 0.92.³
Soy is rich in fiber and is also a good source of several essential minerals, including magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron.¹
While the scientific consensus supports the health benefits of soy, concerns have risen about its safety that have zero or little basis in fact. These include claims that soy causes breast cancer, decreases male fertility and interferes with thyroid function. Though many of them are based in myth, concerns are concerns, and well go through them one by one.
No The Impossible Whopper Wont Make Men Grow Boobs
- By Ryan Whitwam on December 27, 2019 at 4:28 pm
Plant-based meat substitutes are becoming increasingly popular as the quality increases and costs fall. You can even buy an Impossible burger from Burger King now. This situation has clearly caused some alarm among meat producers, and theyve dug up some old pseudoscience to try and convince people that meat substitutes are bad for them. A livestock trade publication called Tri-State Livestock News has resurrected the claim that soy causes feminization in men. Dont clutch your pearls theres no evidence for that.
The post on TSLN covers several points, none of which are free of spin. Veterinarian James Stangle complains about protein measurements, GMO status, and more. The most outrageous claim is that the Impossible Whopper has 44mg of estrogen, which is 18 million times more than a beef burger. He warns that too much plant-based meat will cause men to grow breasts, which is at best a half-truth.
The structural similarities of some phytoestrogens and estrogen .
Most doctors no longer consider isoflavones in soy to be an issue after all, we get plenty of phytoestrogens in our diet from oats, rice, beans, and even beer. That hasnt stopped certain internet communities from calling people with whom they disagree soy boys, with the implication being that they have been feminized by eating soy instead of meat. Doctor Stangle perpetuates this nonsense with his misleading article.
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